Greetings! This is my absolute favorite time of the year. I heard someone say recently that “September and October are months God gave us to let us know he isn’t mad at us, sort of an apology for July and August!” I couldn’t agree more; I hate summer. And I hated this summer even more than others. Nathan left Saylor and me here at The Ozark House so he could chip away at his Graduate degree in Maryland. I wanted to write more about my adventures on the blog all summer long, but I didn’t want to make it known to who-knows-who that we were alone. I felt that wasn’t safe, although Nathan did equip me with shotgun-shootin’ skills before he left. Thank God I didn’t have to use them!
I didn’t enjoy being without my man, mainly because I missed him, and also because there is a lot to do around here! Saylor and I tended to the whole farm, which includes the animals, the garden, the house, and the bakery. Saylor didn’t do much “tending” though. He mainly kept me company and kept me from feeling lonesome. He is very good at that! I love that kid! Also, family became my saving grace this summer. They all came to help out around here. I wouldn’t have been able to survive without them! Visitors included: my mom; my sisters, Bailey and Olivia; Nathan’s parents, Barry and Dixie; Nathan’s siblings, Jessica, Daniel, and Juliette (Adam’s wife); and Jessica’s boyfriend, Dell.
Even though I didn’t get to blog this summer, I want to share the highlights with you.
Dead Chicken #1 The DAY Nathan left, Ozark (dog) severely injured one of our hens. I found her right before sunset that night. I picked her up, oozing and everything, and placed her in the coop for the night. I expected to open the door the next morning and find her dead. She was not, but she didn’t look good. She wouldn’t eat, drink, or leave the coop. I came back to check on her, and she had made her way over to our broody hen, who had been sitting on some eggs. There she sat hovering over the future mama — all UP in her business! I thought this was weird, but I had grown squeamish and didn’t want to mess with her anymore. I left her alone to stalk the mother hen and her eggs. I figured she might be scared, knowing she would die soon. She needed to be close to someone to comfort her. I came back to check on them, and the broody hen had left! She had abandoned her eggs! The injured hen still sat there… wait no… she’s not injured anymore. She’s dead — stiff as a board! Those poor eggs were being “incubated” by a cold-dead chicken. I called Nathan, and asked him what I needed to do with the hen. He told me to tie her to Ozark’s collar and make him wear her around a few days to teach him not to hurt the chickens anymore. I protested at first, but knew that I had to do it if I didn’t want this to happen again while Nathan was gone. I had my mom help me. It was a hilarious moment! I wish you could have been there. I put the broody hen back on her eggs, hoping they would still hatch. They never did. Also, the dead hen detached from Ozark’s collar prematurely, and I made no efforts to put it back on there. I said “screw it!” or something like that, and threw her in the trash.
Dead Chicken #2 Tying “Dead Chicken #1” to Ozark’s collar didn’t accomplish anything, because I came home one night with another injured hen in the front yard. Again, I picked her up and placed her in the coop. She died the next day.
Dead Chicken #3 I walked into the coop one afternoon to collect eggs, and something smelled like death (should have been my first clue). I assumed it was one of the eggs that had never hatched and had gone rotten. With no time to do anything about it then, I walked away. I walked down there the next morning and got a whiff of the rotten, death smell before I even approached the coop. I did a little investigating, which meant following my nose (you should be feeling sorry for me by now). I discovered that one of our hens had gotten trapped in the back corner of the coop and died, probably from heat and lack of water. This made me especially upset because it was my fault. Also, the bird that died was one of our Ameraucana hens. Those are the “easter-eggers,” the ones that lay blue eggs. I loved that bird. I even named her — Dawn.
Oh, Gertie! That time Gertie mounted one of our pigs sure made me laugh and a little nervous. She escaped once. The electric fence was dodgy all summer.
That time I thought I ran over Ozark with the car: On one of the Farmer’s Market days, I started loading the car with all the stuff for my bakery booth. I heard the phone ring inside, so I ran inside to answer it. It was Nathan calling to inform me that our credit card information had been stolen. Stressed that I was late, I hung up the phone, ran outside, jumped in the car, started to back up, and *N^T@HF*%ND&WB$#&^F!!!!!!!! What the heck was that?! Did I just hit Ozark? I jumped out of the car to find that I had run over all my bakery stuff! I broke everything, except somehow none of the food suffered from the blow. So I cleaned up as much as I could (cash from the cash box all over the ground!) and made it to the market with food but not much else. My table looked pretty bad that day.
Drought and Heat This was the summer when it never rained, with record high temperatures. Our house doesn’t get cool. The trick we used: go outside, play with the hose, go inside with a wet shirt, turn on the fans, and now we’re comfortable.
Trip to the beach One of the fun times from this summer was when we went to the beach with my family. But first, we had to fly there. You know that annoying kid on that plane that sits behind you, that kicks your chair, that opens and closes the tray table over and over again, and that doesn’t sleep? That kid is Saylor. He is at that age where sitting in confined spaces too long will not do! The lady sitting in front of us gave us the nastiest looks. Sorry lady; you obviously don’t have kids.
Mice Galore I don’t really want to go into detail here, but we need a cat.
Break-down on the Farm One day, things just didn’t go my way. It started with me working the garden on a blistering, hot day! Saylor and Ozark didn’t make things easy for me. Ozark kept knocking Saylor down, and he would scream and cry more than usual. Then I noticed that Gertie had gotten in the pig pen. I realized I needed to fix the electric fence, but first I needed to get Gertie back in her pasture. While fixing the fence, I needed all the animals distracted so they wouldn’t bother me. So, first, I turned the electric fence off. I gathered some grain for the pigs, Gertie, and the goats. I also had Saylor on my hip because he was fragile from being pushed around by our pup. With my arms full. I delivered all the food to the animals and began to work on the fence. The ruminants finished their food before I finished fixing the fence, so they started coming at Saylor and me. Normally, this would be fine, but I couldn’t hold or watch Saylor because I had to fix the fence. So I got more food for the ruminants. By now, the pigs were finished with their food. UGH! So there I am going back and forth, with Saylor on my hip, accomplishing nothing with the fence, just feeding the animals more than they needed. I started to leave, again, from the pasture, to get more food for the pigs. I wasn’t thinking, and I left the gate open. Then the goats escaped! By this point, I am out of breath and so frustrated! I put Saylor down to get the goats, and Ozark knocks Saylor down AGAIN! So now Saylor is screaming, and I am crying. I just sat down on the ground and sobbed. I threw myself a good, little pity party for a few minutes. Then I managed to pick Saylor and myself up, get MORE (much more this time) grain for the animals, get the goats back in the pasture, fix the fence, and breathe.
On the bright side This summer tested my patience in many ways. I wish I could say that I handled it gracefully and naturally, but that is not the case. There were many moments filled with complaints and whines. These are not my proudest moments. However, I did manage at times to rise to the occasion and surprise myself with my strength and guts. Overall, God taught me invaluable lessons this summer. He also loved on my family and me over and over again through family and friends. I want to give shout-outs to some of those special people: Jonathan and Jacqueline Knaup, Dave and Lori Safstrom, Ben and Robin Garcia, Barry and Dixie Bechtold, Woody and Dena Oliver, Omah, Bailey, Olivia, Jessica, Juliette, Daniel, Dell, Ruth Bussey, Jenny Graham, Katie Roberts, Ron and Gail Brown, Art and Doris Porter, William Runyon, Sheila Morse, Dale and Mary Bechtold, and more and more. Thank you all for your irreplaceable friendships. And thanks to these people, our summer was filled with so many fun times that included going to the beach, hanging out at the lake, participating at the Farmer’s Market, hanging with family, playing with the water hose, playing with our pup, and more and more! Also, a batch of eggs finally hatched!
So what now? Now that Summer is over and Fall is here, I can finally breath and relax. I hope to blog more. What consumes my thoughts now is the desire for another child. I am trying to be patient about this, but it’s not easy. Bubby is becoming more and more independent. He tells me “bye, bye”, which translates to “go away; leave me alone” all day long. He is probably going to wean soon. I could blog all day long about how sweet and special he is, but I’ll spare you that post, for I am the only one who would want to read it. But seriously, he is amazing, sweet, loving, adventurous, strong, kissable, smart, funny, talented, and on and on and on. And I want another one!
Enjoy this beautiful, refreshing season. We will here at the Ozark House.